Thanksgiving is one of those days I never seem to spend in Austin. As usual, my wife and I will be among the 38 million people hitting the road for the holiday, albeit this year’s trek is only to San Antonio.
It’s a short trip, but tomorrow’s return will likely take twice as long, thanks to Black Friday madness. Stores everywhere look to the day after Thanksgiving to jump start their holiday revenues, but I’m particularly dreading the drive past the San Marcos outlet malls , which will clog I-35 with legions of shoppers looking for deals. Or as I’ve learned to say after years of watching Jennie Covert commercials, “dills.”
And now, Black Friday is creeping into Thursday. CompUSA is taking the first step towards eliminating all holidays from their retail calendar, opening their stores at 9pm on Thursday night. This type of commerce creep is about as predictable as the five blade razor, and I suppose it makes sense on some level. By 9pm you’re ready to shoot Uncle Mortie if he tells the “missing turkey leg” story again, and likely in need of a discreet location to dis-ingest Grandma’s green bean casserole. So that might as well happen in a CompUSA parking lot.
It’s obvious that CompUSA is based in Dallas, because they shrewdly scheduled their bold step towards ubiquitous consumerism AFTER the Cowboys game. Thanks to Tex Schramm’s drive to create “America’s Team,” everyone gets to watch Dallas play on Turkey Day, starting at 3:15pm on Fox.
I’m no Cowboys fan, but the rise of Tony Romo makes for football worth watching. And drinking. Because Tony Romo is more than just an undrafted quarterback with a kitschy duosyllabic symmetry to his name. He is more than a 3-1 replacement for Drew Bledsoe, and still more than a rumored replacement for Nick Lachey. Tony Romo is also a drinking game, which may come in very handy — even necessary — for an extended visit with extended family. Just make sure you use the updated “starter” rules and not the original “benchwarmer” edition.
According to CBS, this merger of feasting and football has been going since the 1890’s, which prompted a diatribe from the New York Herald: ” … Thanksgiving Day is no longer a solemn festival to God for mercies given. It is a holiday granted by the State and the Nation to see a game of football.”
And, if you don’t disrupt your family holiday to go buy stuff, the terrorists win.